Tag: basketball

Wolves Advance To Second Round With Win Over Carolina Chosen Lions

The Winston-Salem Wolves advanced to the second round of the 2024 ECBL playoffs with a win over the Carolina Chosen Lions on Saturday, June 8, 134-107.

Head Coach Antonio Robinson said it took a total team effort to get the win, which is the first playoff win for the Wolves since the 2019 season.

The win over the Lions sets up a rematch with the Petersburg Cavaliers, who handed the Wolves a loss in the final regular season game this year. The Wolves are looking to return to the ECBL title game, coming out of a loaded Northern Conference this season.

The matchup against Petersburg will take place at a neutral site in Fayetteville.

Wolves Fall To Petersburg On The Road; Playoffs Up Next

Winston-Salem Wolves 2024 Antonio Robinson

The Winston-Salem Wolves had the chance to grab the #1 seed for the ECBL playoffs in a road game against the Petersburg Cavaliers on Saturday, but fell 136-128 in what has become an annual event: the Wolves vs the Cavaliers for the Northern Conference regular season title. Unfortunately for the Wolves, they were unable to secure the regular season title, which would have been the second in a row for the team.

However, after finishing 10-3 on the season, the Wolves now turn to the playoffs and next weekend they will host the Carolina Chosen Lions out of Rocky Mount, NC in the first round of the 2024 ECBL playoffs and the bid to make a run for the ECBL title. The Wolves have appeared in one previous ECBL Championship in 2019, despite making the playoffs in 4 of their 5 active seasons. Head coach Antonio Robinson feels his team is poised to make another run at the trophy, and the first step will be getting past the first round of the playoffs.

Game times and dates will be announced this week.

Chasing Playoff Seeding: Wolves Still On Top – For Now

Winston-Salem Wolves 2024 Playoffs

The Winston-Salem Wolves have held the number one playoff seed since defeating the DC Heat at home on April 14, but keeping that seed ranking certainly hasn’t been a cake walk.

Following the win over the Heat, the Wolves travelled to Fayetteville to face a team that had been on a six game winning streak and only one game out of the top seed – additionally, the Wolves had dropped their earlier game to Fayetteville and losing again would mean the Wolves would fall behind if the seeding came down to a tiebreaker. The Wolves managed to eke out the win on the road and hold onto that top seed – for now.

After falling to the Wolves, the DC Heat continued to win, as did the Petersburg Cavaliers, both of whom now only have two losses each; the Heat are 11-2 on the season, with a 9-2 conference record, and Petersburg is 9-2 overall with a 7-2 conference record. This means that despite only a few games remaining in the regular season, the playoff seeding isn’t set, and the Wolves need to remain focused.

The Wolves only have one regular season game on the schedule, June 1 at Petersburg, while the Cavaliers have two games left before the playoffs. On May 25, they will face the NC Capitals before returning home to host the Wolves. Meanwhile, the DC Heat have wrapped up their regular season and can only wait to see if the Wolves drop their final game. A Wolves win clinches the number one seed, but a loss would push DC into the number one spot – DC defeated Petersburg earlier in the season and holds the tiebreaker if both Petersburg and DC finish with the same record.

Of course, playoff seeding is only one factor that matters in the postseason, as the Wolves are well aware. Last season the Wolves grabbed the number one playoff seed only to lose in the first round of the playoffs, a sting that the current team is well aware of. The team is focused on not only returning to the playoffs, which they’ve now clinched, but also making a serious run at the ECBL title.

Winston-Salem Wolves And The ECBL Playoff Landscape

Winston-Salem Wolves 2024 Antonio Robinson Jahlil Rawley

If the season ended today, the Wolves would hold the #1 seed in the ECBL playoffs for the second season in a row – but of course, the season isn’t over.

With a record of 8-2 overall, the Wolves definitely control their own destiny in playoff seeding; however, with a few weeks left in the regular season, nothing has been settled – so let’s take a moment and review the playoff landscape before the final push.

Close on the heels of the Wolves are the Fayetteville Panthers – with a record of 8-3, the Panthers are one of only two teams to hand the Wolves a loss this season. There were a few contributing factors in the loss – the Wolves were short handed, on the road and playing the second game of a back-to-back when they last lost to the Panthers. However, the Panthers have proven to be a quality team this season, winning their last 6 games. The Wolves travel again to play Fayetteville on April 11, so this matchup could create a tie at the top of the division and the tiebreaker would go to the Panthers.

The Wolves have one home game remaining on the schedule – May 19th against Kingdom Life Basketball Club, who have yet to secure a win in the 2024 season and suffered a loss to the Wolves earlier in the season. Following that, the Wolves hit the road again to face another playoff contender, the Petersburg Cavaliers, who won the conference title in both the last two seasons.

Elsewhere in the conference, the DC Heat have been a force, compiling a 7-2 record with only one loss on the court, to the Wolves. The other loss on their record was by forfeit, so the lone loss to Winston-Salem is significant and puts them in a position where they need to win out the remainder of their season and hope for a loss from other teams.

The playoff seedings in the Northern Conference may not be set, but several teams seem to have a spot secured: Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, DC, Rowan County and Petersburg. Where those teams are positioned is still up in the air. Rowan County could be the dark horse, being the only other team to defeat Winston-Salem this season, and despite a slow start, have built a 7-4 record.

For full details in the remaining schedule, be sure to check out the Schedule & Results page.

Wolves Improve To 7-2 With Win Over DC Heat

Niquan Cousins Winston-Salem Wolves

For the second time this season, the Wolves took on a #1 ranked team in the ECBL and came away with a victory. Previously, the Wolves had travelled to Rock Hill, SC during a tough road stretch to take on the PrimeTime Players, who were ranked #1 in the ECBL power rankings at the time.

Sunday the Wolves hosted the currently #1 ranked DC Heat, who came into the game undefeated on the season (save for one forfeit loss) while the Wolves came into the game ranked at the #2 spot.

The Wolves jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, leading by as many as 9 points, but the DC Heat were able to close the gap in the second and the game became a back-and-forth affair with multiple lead changes. The Heat led by 4 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Heat raced out to a 17 point lead, with the Wolves appearing out of sorts, taking ill-advised deep shots at times and not focusing defensively. Despite holding the leading scorer for the Heat, Cory Moore, to a modest game, the Wolves struggled and it appeared that the game was quickly getting out of reach.

However, a late third quarter surge, fueled a 17 point comeback and the Wolves closed the deficit heading into the final quarter.

During the fourth, both teams continued to battle for the lead, but momentum slowly moved to the Wolves, as their defense created multiple turnovers, which they were able to capitalize on. Sharp shooting down the stretch sealed the win for the Wolves, 110-102 and handed the DC Heat their first on-court defeat of the season.

The Wolves improved to 7-2 on the season, and with four games remaining before the playoffs, the team once again looks poised to make a playoff run.

Wolves Clinch Division With Win, Set Up Showdown For Title

The Winston-Salem Wolves clinched the ECBL Northeast Division with a win over rival Rowan County, 117-112, and simultaneously setting up a showdown with the Petersburg Cavaliers for the Northern Conference regular season title on June 4.

The Wolves entered the game with three significant players missing from the day’s roster: Jahlil Rawley, Mike Hughes and Chuck Gamble. The three guards, in combination with Mike Chambers, have been one of the most potent backcourts in the ECBL this season, so the Wolves would need to make adjustments to play with a different lineup than the one that has garnered so much success this season.

The modified roster struggled early, as hot shooting from Rowan County quickly built a sizable 15 point lead in the first quarter and the Wolves failed to score to keep pace. Head coach Antonio Robinson was forced to call an early timeout in an attempt to reorganize the defense and adjust, and the Wolves responded with a late run to close the gap, trailing by 6 at the end of the first quarter.

The Wolves were able to find their footing in the second quarter and surged back to take a brief lead, however Rowan County’s scoring touch kept the game tight and the score was tied at the half, then again at the end of the 3rd quarter.

The final quarter was a back-and-forth battle as the team traded the lead multiple times, but in the final two minutes the Wolves were able to get key defensive stops and score on back to back trips, with a deep shot from Joshea Singleton that gave the Wolves the lead for good. The Wolves closed out the game with a win, and that win sets up a final home game with not only playoff implications but the regular season title on the line for the Northern Conference.

The Petersburg Cavaliers played in the second day of of a back-to-back against the Hickory Hoyas, in a game rescheduled from earlier in the season, and the Cavs got the road win, which means they currently hold the best record in the North at 9-2. The Wolves are one game back at 8-3, but if the Wolves defeat the Cavs at home on June 4, they would hold the head-to-head advantage and both teams would finish with equal records. This means that the winner of that final game will be the regular season Northern Conference champion, with the winner also being the number one conference seed in the playoffs.

The Wolves have now made the playoffs in 3 of 4 seasons (the 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and is looking to be one of the top contenders for the ECBL title this season: Petersburg, Winston-Salem, Carolina Thunder (SC), PrimeTime Players and the Bishopville Devils are all having outstanding seasons. In the ECBL Mid-Atlantic, the Western Mass Zombies and the Hartford Shockers are battling for the regular season title.

Wolves Drop Home Game to Hickory

Winston-Salem Wolves vs Hickory Hoyas on May 7, 2023

The Winston-Salem Wolves dropped a home game against the visiting Hickory Hoyas, who came into the game in a must-win situation in their hunt for the playoffs.

The Wolves, who clinched a playoff spot with their win last week over the Carolina Chosen Lions, were looking to maintain their tie for first place in the Northern Conference, as the top two seeds have a first-round bye in the postseason.

Coming into the game, the Wolves were missing starting guard Mike Hughes and forward Trey Carrier, but were still looking to hold home court serve in the playoffs. The Hoyas held a 1 point lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Wolves were able to get back to back defensive stops in the second which led to fast break points, and led at the half 53-44.

The Wolves continued to hold their lead throughout the third quarter, with scoring coming from guards Jahlil Rawley, Chuck Gamble and forward Niquan Cousins.

However, in the fourth, it appeared the Wolves hit the wall and sloppy turnovers allowed Hickory to take advantage and come from behind to get the win, 106-98.

The Wolves next face another division rival, the Rowan County Bulls, at home on May 21. With only two games left in the regular season, the Wolves are looking to close out strong prior to the postseason.

Wolves To Be Featured In New Sports Reality Show for Major Networks

The Winston-Salem Wolves have reached an agreement to be featured in the inaugural season of The Grind: Life In The Other Leagues, being filmed targeting services such as Tubi TV, and while it’s still early in the process, the show may even appear on services such as Amazon Prime, Freevee, Plex, Apple TV, Peacock and several more.

Shooting for The Grind starts this week. Fans in attendance at the home game on April 30 will get a chance to be in the show.

Filming will take place over the remaining four home games, practices, team and management meetings and may include the offseason.
The show will also feature the city of Winston-Salem, city leaders, famous sports figures from the area and community basketball events.
Stay tuned for more news about The Grind and how fans can be even more involved!